THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENT CLINTON'S EDUCATION AND TRAINING PRIORITIES FOR THE FALL August 31, 1998
President Clinton is committed to helping prepare our students and our country for the 21st Century by enacting proposals to strengthen and invest in public education, expand access to higher education, and provide those who need it with the training needed to succeed in the workplace. Today, President Clinton will participate in a roundtable discussion at Herndon Elementary School in which he will discuss his education and training priorities for the remainder of this Congressional session. These priorities include:
School Modernization Tax Credits. To help rebuild, modernize and build over 5,000 public schools, President Clinton will work with the Congress to pass Federal tax credits to pay interest on nearly $22 billion in bonds at a cost of $5 billion over five years. Reducing Class Size. President Clinton is committed to helping local schools provide smaller classes with well-prepared teachers in the early grades. The initiative would provide $12.4 billion over seven years to reduce class size in grades 1-3 to a nationwide average of 18 and help make sure that every child receives personal attention, gets a solid foundation for further learning, and learns to read independently and well by the end of third grade.
2. EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY: PREPARING FOR THE 21ST CENTURY. The Clinton
Administration has made an unprecedented commitment to bringing technology into the classroom and to ensuring that all children are technologically literate by the dawn of the 21st century. The House-passed appropriations bill cuts the President's request for educational technology by $180 million; for example, it eliminates $75 million for technology teacher training, which would help new teachers learn to use technology effectively to strengthen instruction and enhance student learning, and it cuts $50 million from the President's request for the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund, which would deny funding to 400 school districts to provide students and teachers with access to classroom computers, training and the latest educational software and telecommunications technology. The President will also continue to strongly oppose any effort by the Congress to repeal or delay the "e-rate" -- an expansion of universal service to provide discounted Internet access and telecommunications services to schools and libraries.
3. STRENGTHENING AND EXPANDING CHARTER SCHOOLS. President Clinton will
work with Congress this fall to complete work on bipartisan legislation to strengthen federal support for the growing charter schools movement, to help meet his goal of establishing 3,000 high-quality charter schools by early in the next century. Last year, the House of Representatives passed a bill with bipartisan support to direct federal resources for charter schools to states that increase the number of charter schools, provide them with maximum flexibility, and periodically review their performance. The Administration has worked with Senators of both parties to strengthen the bill to increase accountability for academic performance in charter schools and ensure that charter schools receive their fair share of other federal education funds. The President will call on Congress to send him legislation that meets these goals before the end of the session.
4. PASSING THE HIGHER EDUCATION ACT: PROVIDING STUDENT FINANCIAL AID,
RECRUITING AND PREPARING GOOD TEACHERS, AND MENTORING MIDDLE-SCHOOL STUDENTS. Congress must pass the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Passed in different forms by both Houses, this bill would reduce interest rates on student loans, consistent with the Administration's proposal announced by the Vice President earlier this year. It will also extend the Pell Grant program, which provides billions of dollars in college aid for low income students, and the Federal Work-Study program, which helps students work their way through college.
High Hopes Mentoring Initiative. President Clinton will also work to ensure that the Higher Education Act includes his High Hopes mentoring initiative, to inspire more of our young people to have high expectations, to stay in school, and to go to college. He will also urge the Congress to provide the initial $140 million in his FY 1999 budget request to launch this program. Teacher Preparation and Recruitment. The President will also work to ensure that the Higher Education Act includes, and the Congress funds, his proposal to strengthen teacher training programs and provide scholarships to 35,000 well-prepared teachers who commit to teaching in underserved urban or rural schools. He will also work with Congress to include new proposals to strengthen accountability for teacher education programs.
5. HELPING EVERY EIGHT-YEAR OLD LEARN TO READ. More than two years ago
President Clinton proposed the America Reads program, to mobilize an army of volunteer tutors to help all children read independently and well by the end of the third grade. In the Balanced Budget Agreement, the Congress pledged to fund an early literacy initiative based on this proposal. President Clinton looks forward to continuing to work in a bipartisan fashion with the Congress to meet this commitment and pass an early literacy bill and fund the initiative. The literacy bill, now pending in Congress, would ensure that children receive quality instruction from well-trained teachers and have opportunities to practice and further develop their reading skills after school and on weekends with trained tutors. It would also help ensure that families receive the support they need to help our youngest children develop necessary language and literacy skills from infancy so that when they get to school they are ready to learn to read. One of the reasons President Clinton is fighting to expand Head Start is so that our children start school ready to learn, which is an important first step to early literacy.
6. STRENGTHENING PUBLIC EDUCATION. President Clinton will work to
restore $2 billion in Congressional cuts to his proposed investments to strengthen public schools, and expand access to higher education, and invest in preparing our youth to enter the workforce:
After-School Programs. The President will work to ensure that Congress fully funds his efforts to strengthen after-school programs. The House Republicans provide $140 million less than the President's request, which would deny about 425,000 children access to safe learning centers. Expanding Head Start. President Clinton is committed to ensuring that children enter school ready to learn -- that is why he will continue to press Congress to fully fund his request for Head Start. The President will work to restore the $160 million House Republicans underinvest in Head Start -- which would deny slots to 25,000 low-income children. Title I (Education for the Disadvantaged). The President will fight the Republican efforts to cut $392 million in grants to high-poverty school districts, which would mean that 520,000 students in high-poverty communities would not get extra help to master the basics and meet high-academic standards. Goals 2000. The President will fight Republican efforts to cut by $255 million (51%) Goals 2000, reversing support for efforts to raise academic standards, affecting 6,000 schools serving over 3 million students. Hispanic Education Action Plan. Because the education of Hispanic Americans requires special attention -- their high school drop-out rate, for example, is unacceptably high -- President Clinton is committed to ensuring that his $600 million Hispanic Education Action Plan is fully funded. This action plan provides for the increased investments necessary to help students master the basic skills (Title I), and become proficient in English (Bilingual Education), help schools implement research-proven reforms to reduce drop-out rates (Comprehensive School Reform), help adults receive basic skills training and participate in English-as-a-second-language programs (Adult Education), and provide assistance to colleges and universities that serve large numbers of Hispanic students. Education Opportunity Zones. The President will fight for his Education Opportunity Zones initiative, which would help high-poverty urban and rural communities increase student achievement by raising standards, improving teaching, ending social promotions, and turning around failing schools. Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities. The President will fight Republican efforts to cut Safe and Drug-Free Schools by $50 million, eliminating funding for School Coordinators to help fight drug and alcohol abuse and increase school safety.
7. EXPANDING INVESTMENTS IN YOUTH EDUCATION AND TRAINING. One of
President Clinton's top priorities this fall is ensuring that Republicans not eliminate the Summer Jobs Program -- which provides work experience disadvantaged youth -- and the new Youth Opportunity Areas initiative -- which helps provide hope and opportunity to youth in high-poverty areas.
Summer Jobs. Up to 530,000 disadvantaged young people would be denied the opportunity to gain skills and valuable work experience over the summer months, if the House Republican budget plan passes. The President is absolutely committed to ensuring that all of the money for the summer jobs program is restored because studies show that the Summer Jobs initiative works: a 1995 report concluded that more than three out of four young people enrolled in the program would have been jobless without it. Youth Opportunity Areas. The House Republican budget does not fund the $250 million requested in the President's FY 99 Budget and rescinds $250 million that was appropriated last year for this program. The President will fight to restore the full funding for this initiative because it will help provide job opportunities for up to 50,000 youth in the poorest communities. School-to-Work. The President will work to ensure that House Republicans do not cut School-to-Work by $100 million, seriously hampering efforts in all States to help young people move from High school to careers or postsecondary training and education.
Herndon Elementary School Principal Michele Freeman Secretary Riley
President Clinton Opens Roundtable Discussion Roundtable Discussion
Secretary Riley Concludes Roundtable Discussion President Clinton Makes Closing Remarks
Principal Michele Freeman
Vice Principal Jude Isaacson
JoAnn Shackelford, Reading Specialist, Fairfax County teacher Martha Bell, 1st Grade teacher
E. Tracy Lewis, President of Herndon Elementary School PTA Maria Gorski, Parent and Parent Liaison and Translator for the school Daniel Domenech, Superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools